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Pride of Edo: Thirty-Six Amusements (Edo jiman Sanjurokkyo)
NP, NP 1864 - Folio. Spectacular collection of 36 colored Japanese Nishiki-e woodblock prints + 1 illustrated index page housed in a modern black folder. Chief student of the great master Hiroshige, Hiroshige II (1826-1869), also known as Shigenobu, was one of the greatest Japanese woodblock print artists of his time. In theearly 1860s,HiroshigeII was involved in several series where two or more artists collaborated. Like Hiroshige before him, he often worked with Kunisada (1786-1865) and drew the landscapes or insets in their collaborative work: "Pride of Edo: Thirty-Six Amusements (1864). Some of the colorful images depict exquisite scenes such as these: a beauty in an interior reading a book, a small black and white cat with a red collar watching her. She kneels on a cushion, looking over her shoulder out the large circular window as smoke rises from a building below. A table before her holds scrolls and an ink stone, and a tall flower arrangement fills an elegant vase (print #28); After the "Himoto no Tori" (Harvest Festival,) a group of two women and a man is home bound after praying for good fortune with a kumade (ornamented rake) to attract wealth (print #34). A beauty is seated on a mat under the blossoming cherry trees, enjoying a cup of sake. A tobacco set and an elegant lacquer tray of food are set out before her. The trees frame a view of a temple in the background, and a couple gestures to each other on the lush green lawn below (print #35). The first polychrome prints, or nishiki-e, were calendars made on commission for a group of wealthy patrons in Edo, where it was the custom to exchange beautifully designed calendars at the beginning of the year. A woodblock print image is first designed by the artist on paper and then transferred to a thin, partly transparent paper. Following the lines on the paper, now pasted to a wooden block usually of cherry wood, the carver chisels and cuts to create the original in negative—with the lines and areas to be colored raised in relief. Ink is applied to the surface of the woodblock. Rubbing a round pad over the back of a piece of paper laid over the top of the inked board makes a print. Polychrome prints were made using a separate carved block for each color, which could number up to twenty. To print with precision using numerous blocks on a single paper sheet, a system of placing two cuts on the edge of each block to serve as alignment guides was employed. Paper made from the inner bark of mulberry trees was favored, as it was strong enough to withstand numerous rubbings on the various woodblocks and sufficiently absorbent to take up the ink and pigments. Reproductions, sometimes numbering in the thousands, could be made until the carvings on the woodblocks became worn. The artists' signatures are contained within the cartouches at either the lower left or the lower right portion of the image. The titles of the image and series are at the upper right. Captions in Japanese. Print size slightly varies: appr. 13 1/4" x 9 1/4", images: 13" x 9". 25 plates with artists' signatures in margin, 7 with signatures trimmed in margin, and 4 with missing signatures. Prints in overall very good condition. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: ERIC CHAIM KLINE, BOOKSELLER (ABAA ILAB)]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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